Zongo back for second regatta of fun

Summertime and the living is easy. And so it is Friday at 8:30 a.m. when anyone with an ocean worthy sailing craft can cruise or race their way from Morro Bay to Avila Beach in the Second annual Zongo Yachting Cup. The Morro Bay and San Luis yacht clubs, along with the band Zongo All-Stars, invite anyone to participate.

Last year, Zongo member Paul Irving decided to combine his passions for sailing and music when he helped organize the event. “I’ve been sailing here on the Central Coast since 1986. One thing that’s always struck me as odd is the number of Morro Bay boats that never make it down to Avila Beach, where it’s usually warm, sunny and a great destination just 20 miles down the coast.” Irving’s raced for 16 years with past Morro Bay Yacht Club Commodore Wayne Ratliff and Team Voyager II.

More than 25 boats are already scheduled, and Irving would love to see more. His five-year plan is to grow the Zongo Yachting Cup into the biggest sailing event on the Central Coast.

After the racing — or cruising the Pacific for those not entered in the sanctioned event — the beach party is also open to the public. In conjunction with the Avila Beach Friday Night Farmers Market from 4 to 8 p.m., the Zongo All-Stars will play, followed by the reggae sounds of OsoSol. And for those who party hearty into the night, Mr. Rick’s is presenting a Zongo All-Stars jam with many local musicians sitting in until closing.

“There is no charge for this event,” Irving said, “and the beach party portion at Avila Farmers Market is open to all ages, while the evening event at Mr. Rick’s is open to ages 21-plus only.”

Irving has been a musician since age 4, but found it difficult to maintain a livelihood. Could it be because the Zongo All-Stars are so willing to play so many free public events?

“By day, I’m a life insurance/retirement annuity wholesaler and by night I play music,” he said. “Most of our shows are in beautiful, outdoor locations around SLO County and are free for all ages.”

Irving played reggae with Rock Steady Posse before he founded the Afro-funk Mozaic. He and fellow horn player Andrew Wise, Zongo’s bandleader, stayed together arranging and composing original songs. Other Zongos are Dylan Johnson, Jacob Odell, Justin Perkins, Sean Sullivan and John Lee.

“The music is 100 percent original — a fusion of Afro-Caribbean, salsa, funk, reggae, Calypso and more. We call it CaliCubano or CALIfornia/CuBANO). It’s high energy, fun and extremely danceable.”

For information contact paul@zongoallstars.com or RSVP at 441-3344.

Reach Judy at jsalamacha@yahoo.com or 801-1422.